Published — Friday 25 January 2013
Last update 24 January 2013 10:25 pm
OAKLAND, California: Golden State’s two key men made timely bids for inclusion in the NBA All-Star game by putting in powerful performances and leading the Warriors to a 104-99 win over the league-leading Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
On the eve of the announcement for the All-Star reserves, Stephen Curry had 31 points and seven assists while David Lee finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds for Golden State.
In other key games, Denver pulled away in the third quarter against a sloppy Houston, San Antonio overcame two key absences to beat New Orleans and notch a 15th straight home win, while Portland arrested a six-game skid and beat Indiana, dropping the Pacers out of the Central Division lead.
Golden State’s Curry stole a pass from the Thunder’s leading man Kevin Durant in the final seconds and hit a pair of free throws to seal the Warriors’ third straight victory.
Durant had 33 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City’s lead over San Antonio at the top of the standings was sliced to zero games, ahead only on percentage.
The Spurs overcame the absence of the injured Tim Duncan and ill coach Gregg Popovich to beat the New Orleans Hornets 106-102.
Tony Parker had 24 points and 13 assists while Tiago Splitter added 25 points and seven rebounds.
Eric Gordon had 17 points for the Hornets.
The Denver Nuggets made the most of a Houston’s myriad mistakes and beat the Rockets 105-95.
Ty Lawson scored 21 points and Wilson Chandler had 20 for the hosts, who took command with a 21-5 burst late in the third quarter. The Nuggets converted 28 points off 23 Houston turnovers and beat the Rockets for the fifth straight time.
James Harden scored 23 points for Houston, which has lost eight of its past nine.
The Portland Trail Blazers, who had lost their previous four home games, arrested the slide with a 100-80 win over the Indiana Pacers.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and rookie gaurd Damian Lillard added 20 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, who shot a season-high 56.4 percent from the floor.
Paul George had 22 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who had won seven straight against Western Conference teams, their longest streak in nine years.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ miserable season continued with a 106-93 defeat at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Darrell Arthur scored 20 points and Mike Conley added 19 for Memphis, which has won every one of the 12 games in which it’s reached three figures.
Kobe Bryant scored 29 points for Los Angeles, which lost its seventh consecutive road game, and also center Dwight Howard, who missed the second half after aggravating his sore shoulder in the first half.
Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez was another to strengthen his All-Star claims by leading the Nets to a 91-83 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He had 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting.
The Nets improved to 12-2 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, and they’re 9-1 with their preferred starting lineup.
The Miami Heat came from 15 points down at home to beat the Toronto Raptors 123-116 in overtime.
Dwyane Wade scored 35 points and LeBron James got his 34th career triple-double, finishing with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Chicago Bulls put in a furious fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Detroit Pistons 85-82.
Nate Robinson had 11 points and seven assists in 21 minutes off the bench, helping the Bulls to a win that moved them to the top of the Central Division standings, ahead of Indiana.
In other games, the Atlanta Hawks snapped a six-game losing skid in road games by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 104-92; the Utah Jazz held off the fast-finishing Washington Wizards and won 92-88, while the Phoenix Suns won their first game under new coach Lindsey Hunter, beating the Sacramento Kings 106-96.